Much debate about whether you can have too much of a good thing as far as Saturday’s racing is concerned but there is no doubt that it really is worthy of its “Super Saturday” tag with Group 1 action and top class handicaps the order of the day.
The Darley July Cup is one of my favourite races of the season but it would be wrong to suggest this was a vintage renewal; on good or faster ground Bated Breath, last year’s runner up, would be something to bet on, but the ground is currently good to soft and there is more rain forecast between now and post time.
Preference is for Society Rock (3.20) who was only beaten 2 lengths behind Black Caviar last time having blown the start in the Diamond Jubilee; one could argue his best form is at Ascot (winner of the Golden Jubilee in 2011) but I am prepared to give him another chance with the booking of Ryan Moore very much a positive.
Newmarket’s opener can go to the once-raced Sir John Hawkwood (1.40) a winner on soft ground at Windsor on debut at a time when the Sir Michael Stoute yard were not exactly firing in the winners. The form of his Windsor success does not suggest he is particularly well handicapped, and his subsequent absence from the track is a concern, but he is entitled to come on for that initial experience and can confirm the promise of his first start.
Soft ground is the order of the day at York for the 53rd running of the John Smith’s Cup; Mijhaar certainly deserves to win a big one but he has only won one of his six career starts and marginal preference is for Media Hype (3.00) who remains open to further improvement despite being a 5-y-old; he who may have found the ground too quick at Newmarket last time.
The selection has an excellent draw in stall 2, although that might be negated if the field migrate to the stands’ side, has winning form over C&D and in an open race can reward each way support at 8/1 with BetVictor (1/4 odds first 4).John Smith’s Cup; prices from betvictor.com; EW ¼ first 4
Media Hype 8/1
Area Fifty One 8/1
High Jinx did us a favour when winning on the July course last time but he has been raised 8lbs for that success and preference is for lightly-raced 3-y-o Suraj (2.25) in the Silver Cup who will think he has been let loose off 8st 2lbs and was very impressive at Doncaster last time. The recommendation has winning form on soft ground and is still in the Ebor for which a penalty wouldn’t do his chances of getting into the race any harm.
At Chester I am sweet on the chances of Royal Rock (3.25) in the feature race stepping back up to 7f; now an 8-y-o he wasn’t beaten too far in the Diamond Jubilee at Royals Ascot last month, has a good draw in 2 and acts with plenty of cut in the ground.
The Weatherbys Super Sprint at Newbury often throws up a shock with winners at 25/1, 20/1 and 100/1 in the last half a dozen years; the form of Hototo’s Windsor Castle win at Royal Ascot was franked when runner up Alhebayeb went one better in the July Stakes on Thursday but Mick Channon’s Pay Freeze (3.50) is 10lb better off for the 4l he was beaten at the Royal meeting and is taken to reverse the form.